Today’s the anniversary of a day that four of us smokers met up together. We’d all met up already in the Smoky Drinky Bar. This time was the first time that we’d actually met up in person, face to face, in a real bar rather than a virtual bar.
TwentyRothmans, me, Nisakiman, and Bucko. About the only thing we shared was the fact that we were all smokers. Nisakiman had been living in Greece. TwentyRothmans was a roving Australian. Bucko lived in Lancashire. And I lived in Herefordshire. In different circumstances we would have never met. It was a thoroughly improbable meeting.
There have been more meeting since then. I met up with Rose in a motorway service station. And Emily came to stay for three days in my little flat. And Brigitte visited too. All of us smokers. And many of us regular visitors to the Smoky Drinky Bar.
There’s a growing informal network of smokers from all over the world, mostly communicating online using text, occasionally meeting up online to speak to each other, and even more rarely meeting in person, face to face.
I think it’s important for smokers to get together. I don’t think it really matters whether they communicate by text or voice or in person, face to face. Smokers are scattered all over the world, and of necessity most of them will never meet each other. But they can all still belong to an invisible network that encompasses the globe.
I’m much more interested in uniting smokers than I am in fighting antismokers. I think that if all the scattered smokers around the world could unite with each other, they would defeat the antismokers very quickly. Because there are far more of us than there are of them.
My guess is that there are about 1.5 billion smokers in the world. How many antismokers are there? I always imagine that there are only a few thousand. Maybe a few tens of thousands. I say that because, throughout my life, I’ve met lots and lots of smokers, but very few antismokers. I was all of 17 years old before I met my first antismoker, Dr W. And since that time I’ve only encountered a handful more of them. Although clearly their numbers have been growing.
How did these few thousand people manage to drown out the voices of so many millions of smokers? They did it by uniting together. They became an army. Only as an army could they defeat the scattered, disunited smokers around them. It’s easy for united people to defeat disunited people. Every street gang knows this.
It’s probably because there are so few of them that the antismokers find it necessary to have lots of conferences where they all meet up face to face, where they all unite. The rest of the time, they’re surrounded by people who either smoke, or who are indifferent to smoking. And with them they have to pretend either to smoke, or to pretend to be indifferent to smoking. I had one of these as a friend of mine once. She never ever complained about smoking. It was only after the UK smoking ban had been introduced that she “came out” as being an antismoker working in Tobacco Control.
So going to all these conferences is probably the only way that antismokers can get any sense of being part of a united movement. It’s probably the only time their purpose gets renewed: the purpose of completely stamping out smoking in the world.
And it’s one of the weaknesses of antismokers, that they’re not trying to build something, but instead trying to destroy something. They’re not trying to start something: they’re trying to stop something. They are not creative: they are destructive. They’re not trying to add something to the world: they’re trying to subtract from. And when they succeed, they leave only a void. They’re like those aerial bomber fleets that only leave devastation beneath them. Is that something to be proud of doing?
There’s an emptiness in the hearts of antismokers. And it’s that emptiness that they bring to the world. But they can probably experience a brief sense of community, as they come together in their conferences to plan new ways of destroying communities everywhere else.
But as smokers gradually unite, the antismoker army will gradually become outnumbered. And it’ll only take a few smokers to unite together to outnumber them. And those smokers won’t have to go to conferences in Moscow or Switzerland to gain a sense of being part of a community. Because there are enough smokers everywhere to form a community.